Emotions are central to human existence. Happiness, sadness, pain, joy, fear, jealousy, shame, guilt, love, anger and more are all very real, very raw emotional experiences. Many times, however, we don’t always know the safest way to express these emotions – this is what may lead to the development of a mental illness or to an addiction, as some people try to self-medicate with alcohol or drugs. Whether you’re currently in a treatment program or not, music can serve as a tool to help you express your emotions or even to bring about an emotion that could support a better mindset for your well-being.
A 2018 study sought to explore sadness and music – in particular, how people experience crying when listening to music. Eight hundred and ninety-two participants were involved in the study, with two underlying themes: a “sad” class and an “awe” class. Individuals who classified as the “sad” class tended to feel sad, upset, and depressed when listening to music; people in the “awe” class tended to feel euphoric, happy, amazed, and inspired. The research indicated that people more open to experiences found themselves in the “awe” class, while those with high neuroticism (tendency to lean towards negative thoughts and emotions) found themselves in the “sad” class. While it’s true that the way you think has an affect on the way you listen to music, you can use this to your advantage in your recovery.
When it comes to mental illness and/or addiction recovery, music therapy can serve two functions: 1) as a tool to help you understand and make sense of what you’re feeling and 2) as a tool to help motivate you and keep you uplifted as you work towards your recovery journey. For example, the next time you’re feeling distressed, play music that calms you and gives you positive emotions. What do you experience? Did you feel that this type of music reduced your distress? If not, try diverse types of music to see what works best for you. Music can be a very healthy form of self-expression and self-exploration – you may even use music as a coping mechanism during tough times.
If you haven’t already, speak with a professional from a reputable treatment center to learn more about music therapy and treatment programs that could assist you on your journey to recovery. It’s never too late to seek the help you need.
Avalon Malibu is a world-renowned, California state-licensed mental health and substance abuse recovery center. If you are ready to seek treatment to develop the tools you need to overcome life’s obstacles and be on the road towards happiness, health, and well-being, call us today at 888-958-7511 for a consultation. It’s never too late, and there are people here ready to help you.